Mr Argeo Cellucci and Stephen Kelly have recently (WSJ on March 10, 2013) made a very interesting proposal for immigration reform: “Taking a Nafta Approach to Immigration”. The North American Free Trade Agreement, starting in 1994, has boosted trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States by over 400%. Their proposal is to give unrestricted visas to all American, Canadian and Mexican citizens to live and work anywhere within the borders of our three countries.
Enacting such a plan would mostly solve our long simmering immigration problem overnight. It does not offer citizenship for illegals in the U.S. and therefore is not amnesty. Our current illegals with Mexican citizenship would attain legal status with visas but would still have to apply for, and wait for, citizenship through ordinary channels.
But the main reason for making such a change in immigration policy is economic, rather than to ease law enforcement or border control problems. The scholar Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda has recently demonstrated in “The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform” the huge benefits that would ensue from such a policy change. It would boost U.S. GDP by at least .84% annually which means that our slow recovery from the recession of about 2% GDP growth per year would increase by 50%.
Faster economic growth is the elixir our country badly needs to not only provide more jobs but to enable us to rapidly shrink deficit spending at the federal level and restore our national government to sound fiscal health. Here’s how we can do it!